Top 10 Reasons You Need to Update Your Estate Plan

Having an estate plan opens up many doors and possibilities for you and your loved ones. Your plan exists as a roadmap for what happens when you’re gone, how assets are managed while you’re still alive, and more. But, how good is an estate plan that does not effectively keep up with your life as changes happen?

Last month, we covered the top 10 reasons you need an estate plan, but the work does not end there. There are a number of reasons you need to update your estate plan before it’s too late.

1. You Add to the Family

Have you had children since the last time you updated your estate plan? Have you officially become a grandparent or even great-grandparent since then?

Regardless of which member of the family has welcomed a child, you may want to consider what role, if any, that child should play in your estate plan. Be sure not to directly pass any assets to someone who is not old or educated enough to handle them, however.

2. A Loved One Passes Away

If someone is named in your estate plan, they must be able to actually receive the assets allocated to them or to execute the role they were selected for. Consistently reviewing your estate plan to ensure nobody named in the plan predeceases you is imperative.

If you have a beneficiary who has passed away then you’ll need to pick another recipient for those assets. The same can be said for any executors, personal representatives, or trustees who are receiving or managing assets on your behalf.

3. You Get Married for the First Time or Remarry

Marriage is one of the biggest factors in estate planning. If you recently got married then you need to make some changes to your estate plan.

If you have any assets with beneficiary designations then these can be updated outside of your plan, but including your spouse in your new plan is a natural decision, as well.

4. You Get Divorced

This one goes hand-in-hand with number three. Just as you would update your estate plan to include a new spouse, you would also want to remove any references to an ex-spouse.

This step is especially important if you had children with your ex-spouse. God forbid something happens to your children and all your hard work then, by law, goes to their living parent – your ex.

5. In-Laws

The title says it all – in-laws. Sometimes we love ‘em and sometimes we… well, we don’t.

If you are dealing with in-laws such as your son or daughter’s spouse that you don’t trust, then you can take steps to protect your assets from them in your estate plan. This could include detailing what happens if you die and then your son-in-law divorces your daughter after she acquires your hard work through the execution of your estate.

6. Relationships Change

Adding a child to the family, getting a divorce, or dealing with in-laws are all familial factors that play a role. However, have you considered the social impact on your estate plan?

You may have family members or friends named in your estate plan who you no longer are in touch with. Relationships change and people grow apart – that’s okay! Just make sure your estate plan accounts for this.

7. You Retired

Another congratulation is in order here – you made it! As our firm name suggests, Elder Advisors Law works closely with retirees to ensure that they have the tools to live a fruitful life in retirement.

Your plan may need to be updated the day you retire to ensure it continues to operate as a high-powered retirement planning machine.

8. The Law Has Changed

Generally, changes to estate planning laws have minor effects on most estate plans. However, keeping up with the law is a surefire way to avoid a crushing impact on your estate.

At Elder Advisors Law, we are regularly learning about new laws and regulations that impact our clients and will ensure your estate plan never falls apart because of this.

9. It’s Been Years Since Your Last Update

Frankly, time is often one of the biggest reasons to make an update to your plan. Our lives change fast, so if it’s been two, three, four, or even five years since you last checked your plan then an update may be needed.

If you can’t think of a specific reason to make any updates, you should still sit down with your estate planning attorney to review and make sure everything is in order. That’s what our TLC Maintenance Program helps do for our clients!

10. You Attended One of Our Workshops

Have you been to one of our popular workshops? We hold them in our Wisconsin (Janesville and Wales) locations to inform people about important planning matters.We regularly work with clients who came straight from our workshops after learning about these matters. If you attend a workshop and feel enlightened, it may be time to contact Elder Advisors Law.

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Elder Advisors Law

As Leaders in Estate Planning and Elder Law, we are passionate about helping families protect their hard-earned assets from the government, nursing homes, lawsuits or other predators.

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